What’s Hot: The popular roadster, which is powered by one powertrain, continues to offer a lot of excitement with either the manual or automatic transmission.Three adjectives describe this two-seater: light, fun-to-drive and nimble. Mazda’s team of engineers has managed to enhance the spirit of this vehicle during its 26th year by reducing the overall body weight and adding an air-condition that’s roughly 20 percent lighter. The engineering team made great strides in the 2016 model with the fuel economy, too, improving the gas mileage by nearly a whopping 25 percent.
It’s now much easier to change the appearance of the vehicle. The easy-to-use, pull-up, cloth top converts this miniature roadster from a drop top to a ride that can be easily covered to navigate all-weather conditions.The top can be operated by one person, using one hand, while seated inside the vehicle or standing outside. And, whether the top is up or down, it doesn’t interfere with the small cargo area. While the cargo area begs for more room, the 2016 MX-5 Miata is deeper than previous models, so you can carry all of the essentials as well as a few bags of grocery (or weekend travel bags).
MX-5 Miata turns out to more compliant than Lexus hybrid hatchback, the CT200h and is available in three trims. We tooled around in a Grand Touring model. With the higher-end trim, one can expect two additional speakers and a navigation system.
Lastly, the spunky, driver-oriented roadster also includes the latest safety enhancements for 2016. Those features include a blind spot monitoring system, a rear traffic cross alert system and a lane departure warning system. Before we wrap up this segment, we must advise those in the market for a retractable hardtop that a new model joins the lineup in 2017. Pricing for the forthcoming hardtop starts at around $32,300.
There’s no hardtop power convertible top here. Only a soft top is available, as of now. And, while the tiny roadster is infused with the latest technology, a rear backup camera somehow managed to escape the option list. The engineers should add a rear backup camera.
Drive Or Drive-By?: For those looking for a sporty-looking, affordable, fun-to-drive iconic roadster, the MX-5 Miata should be on the shopping list. The spirited compact, especially when outfitted with the easy-to-shift, six-speed manual is a great all-year vehicle to drive, as long as it’s not being pulled-out to tackle heavy rain, snow, ice or sand. With the additional gas mileage and the easy-to-use cloth top, the occupants will enjoy soaking up the sun, while listening to the latest tunes. And we must add, this vehicle took top honors in its segment from JD Power, the quality guru folks.
Competition: Fiat 124 Spider or MINI Cooper Roadster
Highlight: The fourth-generation MX-5 shares a platform with Fiat’s 124 Spider.
Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $32,880 (base model $25,750)
Seating Capacity: 2
Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; daytime running lights; LED headlights; traction control system; and a tire puncture repair kit
Standard Equipment: 16-inch wheels; a rear-wheel drive configuration; a 6-speed manual transmission; a manual operated convertible black cloth top; a glass rear window; air condition; cruise control; two removable cup holders; a leather trim parking brake; a push button ignition system; cloth manually operated seats; and a driver/passenger back panel covered storage
Grand Touring Features: 17-inch wheels; automatic headlights; a Bose 9-speaker audio system; satellite radio; a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen; a navigation system; an automatic controlled a/c system; leather trimmed parking brakes; a remote keyless entry system; heated seats; a leather shift knob; steering wheel with audio and speed controls; a wind blocker; a tire pressure monitoring system; an adaptive front light system; an anti-theft alarm; a blind spot monitoring system; a lane departure warning system; a rear traffic cross alert system; and side impact airbags
Options: a rear lip spoiler; an appearance package (front air dam, side sill extension and rear spoiler skirt); an advanced keyless entry system; satellite radio; and special paint package
Other Trim Level:
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker audio system AM/FM/CD
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/155-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 27-city/34-hwy
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.
PHOTOS: Jeff Fortson